A report, titled ‘Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (CCUS) Policy Framework and its Deployment Mechanism in India’, was released.
The report explores the importance of Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage as an emission reduction strategy to achieve deep decarbonization from the hard-to-abate sectors.
India is the 3rd largest emitter of CO2 in the world after China and the US, with estimated emissions of 2.6 gigatonne per annum (gtpa) in 2019, which marginally reduced to 2.45 gtpa in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
India’s per capita CO2 emissions are about 1.9 tonnes per annum, which is less than 40% of the global average and about one-fourth of that of China.
However, with rapid economic growth, infrastructure, and industrial development, as well as a growing population (expected to overtake China in the next decade and cross 1.50 billion by 2036), the total CO2 emissions are expected to cross 4 gtpa by the year 2030.
What is CCUS?
The International Energy Agency (IEA) defines Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) as a group of technologies for capturing CO2 from large and stationary CO2 emitting sources, such as fossil fuel-based power plants and other industries.
CCUS also involves the transport of the captured CO2 (typically by pipeline and in certain situations through shipping, rail or trucks also) to sites, either for utilization in different applications or injection into geological formations or depleted oil & gas fields for permanent storage and trapping of the CO2.
CCUS also includes Direct Air Capture (DAC), which involves the capture of CO2 directly from the atmosphere, although the same is not the focus of this study, as DAC is still in its early stages and the economics and scale of operations are yet to be established.
CCUS Policy Framework for India
There are two clear policy choices/approaches for India to adopt, i.e.
- Carbon credits/incentives-based policy
- Carbon tax-based policy
CCUS Policy Recommendations
Support the development and deployment of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) in the industry as part of a least-cost portfolio of technologies needed to achieve climate and energy goals.
Identify and prioritize competitive and lower-cost CCUS investment opportunities in the industry to provide learnings and support infrastructure development.
Facilitate the development of CCUS “hubs” in industrial areas with shared transport and storage infrastructure to reduce costs for facilities incorporating carbon capture into production processes.
Implement policy frameworks that support significant emissions reductions across industrial facilities while addressing possible competitiveness impacts.
Establish a market for low-carbon materials, including steel and cement, through public and private procurement measures.
Decarbonization Challenge and the Role of CCUS
The decarbonization challenge for India is to identify scalable and economically sustainable solutions for the decarbonization of sectors that contribute to 70% of emissions.
CCUS has an important and critical role to play, especially for India to accomplish net zero by 2070, as envisioned by the Prime Minister of India in CoP 26.
As a signatory of the Paris Agreement 2015, India has committed to reducing emissions by 50% by the year 2050 and reaching net zero by 2070.
CCUS can enable the production of clean products while utilizing our rich endowments of coal, reducing imports and thus leading to an Indian economy.
CCUS has a significant role to play in India’s emerging hydrogen economy and other sunrise industries like coal gasification.
With numerous market opportunities in India, CCUS can offer a wide range of opportunities to convert the captured CO2 into various value-added products like green urea, food and beverage form application, building materials (concrete and aggregates), chemicals (methanol and ethanol), polymers (including bio-plastics), and enhanced oil recovery (EOR).
How CCUS contributes to decarbonization?
CCUS can contribute to decarbonization in various ways:
CCUS is the only technology known for the decarbonization of CO2-intensive industries, such as steel, cement, oil & gas, petrochemicals & chemicals, and fertilizers. These industries are crucial for the Indian economy’s sustainable growth as well as for maintaining the security of food, materials, and energy.
Low-carbon hydrogen economy
Through the production of blue hydrogen based on the use of our abundant coal resources, CCUS is anticipated to play a significant role in enabling the hydrogen economy in India.
Removal of the CO2 stock from the atmosphere
Without removing surplus CO2 from the atmosphere using Direct Air Capture (DAC), the race to net zero and keeping the world temperature within 1.5 degrees of pre-industrial levels is impossible.
DAC plants are in operation at a small scale, due to their prohibitively high cost of operations. With technological innovation and focused policy interventions, CCUS through DAC applications is also expected to have a role in the net-zero transition journey.
Sustenance of existing emitters
Existing thermal power plants and industrial plants (such as steel and cement production facilities) can be retrofitted with CO2 capture infrastructure.
Challenges associated with CCUS are:
Cost of Implementation and Operation: Capturing and compressing CO2 requires a substantial amount of energy and water, as well as a high initial capital investment in capture technologies, transportation pipelines, and geological storage.
Transportation Issues: New infrastructure is required to safely transport liquefied CO2 to sites for storage or use.
Transfer of Custody: To report carbon tax credits and make sure rules are being followed, significant amounts of CO2 that are transferred between producers and consumers must be correctly evaluated.
Emissions Challenges: As the compressed fluid rapidly expands to a gas, contaminants in the CO2 stream, including water, can cause dangerous leaks and explosions.
Article Written By: Priti Raj